Starting Off On Bioidentical Hormones: Those First Few Weeks

The need to replace hormones as your body goes through menopause isn't always that pronounced, but for many women, the decline in natural hormone production can be a really annoying time. Hormone replacement therapy allows your body to better ease into its new state, but the use of HRT itself has created controversy in some corners. For those who don't want conventional HRT, bioidentical hormones are an option, and learning what to expect and how to get around initial issues makes their use that much easier.

You May Need Repeated Adjustment

Like any long-term medication, bioidentical hormone dosages may need to be adjusted multiple times. You'll go on an initial dose and report back to your doctor about how you've been feeling; you may undergo more tests to check your body's levels of hormones after a while. If anything doesn't seem optimal, or you or your doctor spot room for improvement, you may then have the dose adjusted and repeat the testing period. This can go on for a while for some people, so do not give up if you feel like the hormones are kind of working — it's all a matter of trial and error during those first few weeks and months.

Compounding/Customization Is an Option

If you're having trouble finding the right dose of readily available bioidentical hormones, customizing the hormones and the dosage is an option. This is done through compounding, which is when the pharmacist creates your medication according to your doctor's specifications. Normally, when you get a prescription for a medication, your doctor notes the dose needed, and the pharmacy has different doses that were bought from the manufacturer. In compounding, the pharmacist can create a customized mix for you at a dose that might not be available from the manufacturer.

Ensure Everything Is FDA-Approved

When you start out on bioidentical hormones, use those with ingredients that are FDA-approved. This is more of a concern for compounded prescriptions than it is for the commercially available formulations, but it's something to keep in mind no matter what you take. When you start with FDA-approved ingredients, you know you're getting hormones that were tested and standardized. For some women, using additional hormonal ingredients is very helpful, but these are not standardized and should be discussed thoroughly with your doctor.

While the testing and adjusting may seem frustrating, these can help you find the optimal dose and formulation of hormones that will help you feel so much better. Stick with it and report any side effects to your doctor immediately. That way, the two of you can adjust the medication again to alleviate those side effects as quickly as possible.

Interested in trying bioidentical hormone replacement therapy? Call your health provider today for details.